We had been very lucky to have had a very easy pregnancy, and so were expecting to be able to have a midwife led labour at the maternity unit in Homerton Hospital. However, on our 36 week scan we were told that our baby was persistent breech presentation. We tried various things to try and move her, including an ECV, but she stubbornly refused to move. We could only assume she was very comfortable!
The Homerton team talked us through our options and were very supportive of us trying for a natural birth under a few conditions. They advised us that we shouldn’t let the pregnancy go beyond 41 weeks, not to have an epidural as this might slow down the pushing stage of labour which needs to be relatively quick for breech babies, and that they would not induce us if the pregnancy continued beyond 41 weeks. We were really happy with the advice we were given and opted to have a natural birth, although we also scheduled a c-section for week 41 in case labour hadn’t started by that point. With either a natural birth of a c-section, we felt really confident that it was possible to have a very positive birth experience, and were determined to stay flexible so we could make informed decisions at each point.
At 40+5 my waters broke around 1am (although I didn’t realise at the time) and I started having very irregular contractions which were very manageable – and allowed me to start practising some hynobirthing techniques :-). Contractions continued through-out the next day but again, they were very ‘comfortable’ (this is the word that had really spoken to me from Ruth’s training) and I was able to carry on my day as planned. However the next evening I felt like something wasn’t quite right and so Oren and I headed in to hospital to just make sure the baby was OK. It was at this point that they confirmed my waters had broken, and I was 1cm dilated, and so they put us on the ward to monitor my contractions and the baby’s movement. The contractions continued every 10 minutes and we used our hypnobirthing to manage them, however over 24 hours from my waters breaking, labour still hadn’t progressed very much at all and because she was breech, they did not want to induce us. The baby was also starting to get a bit distressed, and so we went in for a c-section in the morning.
This was honestly a really lovely experience. We felt so completely supported by the team at Homerton who talked us through what was going on all the time and let us know how long it would be before we were going to meet our daughter. They also did a great job preparing us for some potential problems, for example, they mentioned that breech babies can take a little time to cry and they may need to be with her for a couple of minutes before she came to me. In the end she cried straight away and was given us to immediately. She was perfect, weighing 3.1 kilos, and we called her Lily.
Although we hadn’t got to use our hypnobirthing techniques as much as we had expected, something we really took away from the experience is the importance of staying flexible and keeping informed of your options, since no births go exactly to plan, and that every birth experience can be really positive once the idea of inevitable trauma is removed. Fear of having a c-section was one of the things we tackled during Ruth’s hypnobirthing course. I can honestly say that neither of us were worried about the prospect of having a c-section and, in fact, it was a really amazing day.
We are so happy with all the choices we made throughout the birth. We felt like we were really informed and really able to stay flexible with what was happening (or not happening, as the case was).
Thanks so much for your help and advice – we really do appreciate it.
We now back at home and recovering really quickly.